Iraqi forces retake six villages from IS terrorists

Mosul, Nov 22 (IANS) Iraqi security forces on Monday recaptured six villages in southeast and north of the city of Mosul, while special forces continued heavy clashes with the Islamic State (IS) terrorists to clear the districts freed earlier from the terrorists in the eastern part of the city, a security source said.

The army’s 9th armoured Division continued their advance toward Mosul and managed to free the three villages of al-Salamiyah, al-Hmeirah and Twajnah al-Jadida, which are located some 20km southeast of Mosul, after sporadic clashes with IS terrorists, Xinhua quoted a statement from the Joint Operations Command (JOC) as saying.

In north of Mosul, the army’s 16th Division and allied Sunni paramilitary units freed the villages of al-Abbasiyah, Ortta-Kharab and al-Salam after heavy clashes, bringing the troops closer to the northern edge of Mosul, the JOC statement said.

The security forces have been fighting to push deeper into the eastern side of the city, locally known as left bank of the Tigris River, but met resistance of the militants, who are fighting in small groups who frequently infiltrated behind the advanced CTS forces using tunnels or sneaking through dozens of houses and buildings.

The troops and explosive experts also defuse dozens of booby-traps planted earlier by the terrorists in the freed districts.

After more than a month of military operations against IS terrorists inside Mosul, almost 65,000 civilians have fled their homes and the number went up every day, according to the Iraqi Ministry of Migration and Displaced.

Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi on October 17 announced a major offensive to retake Mosul, the country’s second largest city.